I’m just going to start by saying how unbelievably delicious this recipe is – it’s fresh, full of bright color, crisp veggies and fantastic flavors.
Jeff and I are both HUGE fans of pad Thai. In fact, there’s a local restaurant we go to on occasion, and almost every time, without fail, I order the chicken and shrimp pad Thai. It’s just so delicious. I love all of the flavors – it’s real comfort food in my book. So when a friend shared a raw pad Thai recipe with me, I immediately saw an opportunity to put a twist on it (though you could certainly stay true to the raw, vegan original). And there would be no fooling my husband, anyway. I can’t call a dish “pad Thai” and not serve steaming chicken over hot noodles. So I aptly renamed this recipe a salad (let’s call a spade a spade) and added flavorful chicken into the mix. I think it would also be wonderful with spicy garlic shrimp.
The recipe serves 4 (or 3 if you’re really hungry). I would definitely suggest increasing the ingredients and having plenty of leftovers. It’s even better the next day!
Chicken Pad Thai Salad
(adapted from Vegangela)
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about two), cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 3 T tamari
- 2 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T raw honey
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1/2 t red pepper flakes
- 3-4 medium zucchini
- 3 large carrots
- 1/4 to 1/3 purple cabbage
- 1 C cauliflower florets
- 2 green onions (including green parts)
- ½ C roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1/2 to 3/4 C fresh cilantro
- 1 C mung bean sprouts or radish sprouts (optional – I left them out this time around)
- 1/4 C tahini
- 1/4 C almond butter
- 1/4 C tamari
- 2 T raw honey
- 2 T fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger root, grated
Combine the chicken and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a bowl or resealable plastic bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to overnight.
This marinade includes tamari, which I just bought for the first time in my latest Vitacost order. I was excited to add this ingredient to my real food pantry after ditching the old bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce. It has a really nice rich flavor to it, too.
To create the salad dressing, combine all 7 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.
Using a mandolin (I own this one) or a spiralizer (this one is on my wish list!), thinly cut the zucchini, carrots and cabbage into thin noodles and combine in a large bowl. I couldn’t believe how big the pile of veggies became as I worked my way through the ingredients. But don’t worry, they drop down in size once they sit in that delicious dressing.
Once I’ve finished with the mandolin, I like to start cooking the chicken while finishing the last of the vegetable-chopping. Remove the marinated chicken strips from the refrigerator. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken (discard the marinade), cooking for about 6-7 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes.
While the chicken is cooking, cut the cauliflower into small bite-size pieces and add to the large vegetable bowl. Chop the green onions, peanuts and cilantro and add to the bowl as well.
Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool down for just a few minutes and then add it to the bowl of veggies.
Let the dressed salad sit for at least 15-30 minutes before eating. Trust me – it’s worth the wait! The vegetables all start to reduce down a bit and absorb the nutty sauce and the sauce becomes more liquid as it sits and absorbs some of the water from the vegetables. You won’t even miss the noodles (and this is coming from a noodle-loving lady!) and you’ll wish you had made more for leftovers. I have a feeling Jeff and I will be fighting over who gets to take the last of this dish to work for lunch.
Addendum: This delicious recipe provided so much sauce after sitting overnight (after we ate two servings for dinner), that I was able to add more cauliflower, green onions, carrots and cabbage to bulk it back up again and make more leftovers (no fighting over who gets to take it for lunch!). This was a great way to use up more of those veggies that I had bought, since the recipe didn’t call for a full head of cauliflower/cabbage/etc. I even added in another small handful of chopped peanuts and some more cilantro (because let’s be honest – this dish is all about the cilantro). Enjoy!
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